Nashville, TN – On Tuesday, March 9, 2021 two separate judges who preside in the U.S.
District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee approved settlements of tip and wage
theft claims, covering almost 500 workers and valuing more than $1 million in total payout.
The cases were brought against Strategic Hospitality (Pinewood Social, Downtown Sporting
Club, The Bandbox, Merchant’s, Bastion, Henrietta Red, Patterson House, and The Catbird
Seat) and M Street Entertainment Group (Tavern, Saint Añejo, Kayne Prime, Moto, Virago,
and Whiskey Kitchen), respectively. Workers in the suit brought against Strategic Hospitality
restaurants were represented by the law firm Barrett, Johnston, Martin, and Garrison. The
workers in the suit brought against the M Street restaurants were represented by Barrett
Johnston Martin, and Garrison and the Yezbak Law Offices.
One of the named plaintiffs on the Strategic Hospitality lawsuit, Hayden Smith, said he
believes wage theft and improper tip distribution is more common than most people realize.
“The fact these cases closed on the same day just goes to show how common this issue is in
our industry,” he said. “Hopefully seeing these victories will help more people come forward
and work to de-normalize these behaviors.”
Both of these lawsuits alleged that a portion of tips were withheld from tipped employees to
cover business expenses and distributed to non-tipped employees.
“While it’s great that these two settlements have been reached, there are at least two other
restaurant wage theft lawsuits currently being litigated, including against my former
employer, Anzie Blue,” said Paige McCay, ROC Music City leader. “We encourage restaurant
workers across the city to stand up and speak out against wrong-doing in the industry by
joining ROC Music City.”